The Los Angeles Dodgers are attempting to set a single season record for wins.
This prompted me to take a look at how the rest of the National League was doing this season.
Let’s take a look at how Major League Baseball shakes out right now (9/4/2017) in the current standings.
EAST CENTRAL WEST
Record GB Record GB Record GB
Washington 82-54 — Chicago 75-61 — Los Angeles 92-44 —
Miami 67-69 15 Milwaukee 72-65 3.5 Arizona 79-58 13.5
Atlanta 60-75 21.5 St. Louis 69-67 6.0 Colorado 72-64 20
New York 58-78 24 Pittsburgh 65-72 10.5 San Diego 62-75 30.5
Philadelphia 52-84 30 Cincinnati 58-79 17.5 San Francisco 54-85 39.5
The only pennant race in the Central Division where four teams are within shouting distance of first place.
The East Division is a lost cause.
The West Division, though Arizona has the best record of any second place team, is a true 10.5 games over .500 and would be winning the Central Division and only 3.5 games behind Washington in the East division, they are getting left in the dust by the Dodgers. Arizona will probably have to settle for a Wildcard spot in this season’s playoffs.
Let’s take a different look at the National League.
These would be the National League standings if there were no divisions.
Record GB Games Relative To True .500
Los Angeles 92-44 — +24
Washington 82-54 10 +14
Arizona 79-58 13.5 +10.5
Chicago 75-61 17 +7
Colorado 72-64 20 +4
Milwaukee 72-65 20.5 +3.5
St. Louis 69-67 23 +1
Miami 67-69 25 -1
Pittsburgh 65-72 27.5 -3.5
San Diego 62-75 30.5 -6.5
Atlanta 60-75 31.5 -7.5
New York 58-78 34 -10
Cincinnati 58-79 34.5 -10.5
San Francisco 54-85 39.5 -14.5
Philadelphia 52-84 40 -16
The Division system is hurting Arizona this year.
Instead of being the third best team in the National League, and in striking distance of the number two spot, they will probably make the playoffs as a Wildcard team and be forced to play a one-game wildcard playoff game against Colorado or Milwaukee - the winner of which will move on to play the Dodgers.
If there were no divisions in the league setup and the number of playoff teams remained at six, Arizona would avoid the one-game playoff scenario and play in the divisional round of the playoffs.
They also are still in contention for a First Round bye in the playoffs, if that bye was awarded it as it usually would be to the top two teams in each league.
I am in favor of getting rid of the one-game wildcard playoff.
Looking at the 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks season - and the season the Dodgers are having - seems to support finding another and much better alternative.
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